The Glass House

Flatiron: Macmillan. Sept. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9781250152503. $27.99. F
It’s 1912, and Balmarra, the once-grand Scottish estate, has become a burden. Under the thumb of her penny-pinching husband, Malcolm, Antonia McCulloch struggles to maintain the house and gardens her late father held so dear. One evening, her lonely and predictable life is turned upside down when an unknown sister-in-law appears on her doorstep. Determined to make the best of the situation and get to know her estranged brother’s wife, Antonia tries to accommodate her guest. Much to her chagrin, Cicely Pick has traveled from India with her young daughter to claim her husband’s inheritance, only to discover there’s been a delay in the reading of the will. The aloof Cicely continually rebuffs Antonia’s gestures of friendship, while growing increasingly irritated with the selfish demands of Malcolm.
VERDICT Colin’s (To Capture What We Cannot Keep) lovely storytelling conveys the stark reality of women’s lives in the post-Victorian era. While vastly different in personality and temperament, Antonia and Cicely are similarly pigeonholed into roles not of their choosing, but the result of decisions made by the men in their lives. For fans of historical and women’s fiction.
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